The Indian Premier League has, over the years, has come to be known for the high scoring games that it churns out season-after-season. With aggressive batters from all over the world flocking the tournament, fans are witness to plenty of big hits and sixes, which is thoroughly enjoyed. Despite the presence of bowling match-winners, the men with the willow have managed to leave their mark, and though the tracks this year, in the UAE will be tougher for run-scoring, the batters can never be counted out.
Here are four batsmen who could end the IPL 2020 with the Orange Cap.
KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab)
The Kings XI Punjab batsman will be leading the side this year in the absence of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was traded to Delhi Capitals after last season. Rahul not only oozes class but is one of the best T20 batsmen of the era, and, thus, it came as no surprise when West Indian legend Brian Lara picked the Indian as the best batsman of the generation.
After his move from Royal Challengers Bangalore to Kings XI Punjab, Rahul has not only re-invented his game but has also become more consistent. In the 2018 edition of the IPL, the opener scored 659 runs at an average of close to 55 and a strike rate of 158.41 to end as the third highest run scorer. Last season, Rahul played with more responsibility, ending up as the second highest run-scorer, only behind Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner. He smashed 593 runs at an average of 53.90 and a strike rate of 135.38, thus ensuring that he laid the foundation for his side more often than not.
Rahul has also been in golden touch in the international circuit, not only with the bat but with the gloves as well. Batting both at the top of the order or in the middle, the Karnataka player has finally displayed why he was touted as the player to watch out for in his formative years. His shrewd cricketing brain and fearlessness makes him one of the contenders for the Orange Cap this year.
David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
The Australian opener is not only one of the toughest batsmen to bowl to but is also one of the most consistent players in the IPL. In 126 innings, Warner has scored 4706 runs at a strike rate of 142.39 and an average of 43.17, which is evidence of how dangerous he can be. He has ended an IPL season as the highest run-scorer a record three times – in 2015 when he ended with 562 runs, in 2017 when he smashed 641 runs and then last year when he fell short of 700 runs by just eight runs.
Even though Warner did not win the Orange Cap in 2016, losing out to Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli, who had scored 973 runs, he ran him close, ending with 848 runs.
Warner missed the 2018 edition of the IPL due to his involvement in the ball-tampering saga and was removed from the role of captain by his franchise last year, but he was reinstated ahead of IPL 2020. He returned from his ban hungrier than ever, and the pocket-sized dynamite will be eager to leave his mark yet again and return with the Orange Cap for his team.
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Arguably one of the best cricketers in the history of the sport, Virat Kohli has defined and redefined the word “class” over the years. Blessed with immaculate timing, technique, footwork and consistency, Kohli has managed to plunder bowlers all over the world at will, irrespective of the conditions that have been on offer.
The only cricketer to average more than 50 in all three formats of the game, the Delhiite is also the highest run-scorer in the IPL with 5412 runs at a strike rate of 131.61 and an average of 37.85. Kohli won the Orange Cap in the 2016 edition of the IPL for scoring 973 runs with the help of four tons to end with a staggering average of 81.08 at a strike rate of 152.03.
Though his franchise RCB are the perennial under-achievers in the IPL and finished at the bottom of the table last year after losing their first six games of the season, they have two of the best batters in Kohli and AB de Villiers, and the fans would be hoping that the team can whip up some magic this time around.
Quinton de Kock (Mumbai Indians)
South Africa’s wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock is known for his brisk batting at the top of the order, which helps provide his team with crucial starts in the limited overs game. Recently named as the captain of his international white-ball teams, de Kock was also hailed by former Proteas cricketer Mark Boucher as a fine leader, which is evident in the way he moulds his game according to the game situation.
Playing for the champions Mumbai Indians in IPL 2019, the opener lit up the league by scoring 529 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of close to 133 and an average of 35.26. He finished third in the run-scorers list last year, behind Warner and Rahul, and will be eager to end with the highest honours in the UAE.
De Kock has phenomenal numbers in T20 Internationals as well, with 1226 runs in 44 matches at a strike rate of 136.07 and an average of 31.44. With an all-round technique that helps de Kock succeed in all conditions, he is one of the biggest match-winners, and would be looking forward to another fine showing in this year’s IPL.